SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival

Saturday, April 27 was the Sidewalk Arts Festival at Forsythe Park in Savannah, GA.  The park was pretty packed, crowds gathered to see sidewalk arts, listen to the band in the Amphitheatre, eat from the various stalls and booths set up in the park, and generally enjoy a beautiful day.

Heidi and I arrived at the park around 10:30, eager to participate in our first Sidewalk Arts Festival.  Both of us were absolute novices when it came to sidewalk art, though like most kids, we'd drawn on the pavement for fun years ago.

We checked in, were given two sets of Prang chalk, and Heidi filled our waterbucket.  We set about forming a plan of attack.  The day before we'd come up with a thumbnail of Kara and Cass picking apples, but when faced with the canvas of a sidewalk, we realized it'd be more challenging than originally anticipated.  Heidi and I decided rough in the basic forms using white chalk mixed with water.

Excuse the fact that it looks like I'm a lazy bum who does no work- I was the only one able to take photos.

To make this water and chalk mixture, we had to grind up a lot of white chalk  Since white chalk seemed to be in general demand, and we couldn't supply our own chalk, we decided to use what was left as the start of our skintone.

It may seem counterintuitive to the concept of sidewalk art to use paint made of chalk, but a lot of the artists who do Sidewalk Arts festival have elaborate setups including palettes and hammers that allow them to easily create paint with their chalk.  The chalk, when ground against the pavement, doesn't produce as intense a line as the chalk paint does, and there's a high probability that the pigments blow away in the end.  The paint doesn't have this problem.  Another benefit of the paint is that colors are more easily mixed (like skintones), and blending may be easier.

There were quite a few times in the process of this piece that I had some serious doubts.  Sidewalk Arts Festival also has a competitive aspect to it, but I wanted to keep it casual, as this was our first time doing this.  At this point, I thought the piece wouldn't really come together, but we were determined to give it a shot.

The piece really began to come together when we applied a mixture of brown, violet, and black chalk paint as an 'ink' outline.

As the sun rose in the sky, the sun-mottling became worse, so the photos aren't going to do the piece any real justice.

There were a lot of very talented people participating in the Sidewalk Arts Festival, but due to the crowd, I couldn't get any photos.  To be honest, it was hard enough to get our piece done with the crowd, as our mobility was severely limited.

Our experience this year was a lot of fun, although if we were to ever participate again, I think we would do some things differently. Quite a few artists were better prepared and used the chalks to make paints; grinding, mixing, and applying all of their chalk in a liquid form.


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